News / Africa

    A Better World for Women and Girls

    Phul Kumari, 25, stands with her child in a village community center in Baghpat district, in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh October 18, 2011. Kumari  was trafficked to Uttar Pradesh as a bride for her husband and has been repeatedly raped by his
    Phul Kumari, 25, stands with her child in a village community center in Baghpat district, in India's northern state of Uttar Pradesh October 18, 2011. Kumari was trafficked to Uttar Pradesh as a bride for her husband and has been repeatedly raped by his
    Joe DeCapua

    A British Medical Journal editorial calls for a moral and political movement to end violence and oppression against women and girls. It says about one billion women worldwide have been beaten, coerced into having sex or otherwise abused.

    The BMJ editorial describes oppression against women and girls as a great injustice that is insidious, systematic and widespread.

    “We’ve been documenting the problem of violence against women and other abuse and neglect of women in the context of childbirth, etc. There are many programs, campaigns, policies, laws, conventions, treaties that have been devised to eliminate them. There’s been progress in that regard and yet it’s still a global pandemic – the oppression of women and girls,” said coauthor Janice Du Mont.

    Du Mont is a scientist at the Women’s College Research Institute in Toronto and an associate professor at the Dalla Lana School of Public Health at the University of Toronto. She co-wrote the editorial with Associate Professor of Sociology Deborah White of Trent University in Peterborough, Canada.

    Basic rights

    The editorial says gendered violence, avoidable complications of pregnancy and childbirth are infringements of basic human rights and freedoms.

    “When you think about violence against women, for example, and girls, I mean it’s an issue that touches everyone’s lives. You have sisters, mothers, friends, etcetera that have experienced abuse or will experience abuse in the future. So it is a problem relevant to everyone in all countries. This cuts right across boundaries like geography, wealth, culture,” Du mont said.

    The British Medical Journal approached the two women to write the editorial as a follow-up to a 2009 book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide. It was co-written by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof and Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Sheryl WuDunn.

    Professor Du Mont says women around the world face many risks.

    “The number one consequence of abuse and neglect is just death, period. And I know from surveys worldwide that it’s estimated, for example, that approximately 40 to 70 percent of homicides of women are committed by intimate partners. These are in the context of abusive relationships. So one type of violence against women. Also, both abuse and neglect and pregnancy, etcetera, not having access to proper services, obviously leads to injury and permanent disability,” she said.

    She said there are also risks of depression, suicide and chronic diseases. Du Mont says in 2008 there were nearly 360,000 maternal deaths reported worldwide – almost all in developing countries. And then there’s human trafficking, with the vast majority of the 800,000 people trafficked annually being women and girls.

    Everyone’s responsibility

    I think it really is the courage of women and women activists that first brought this to light – violence against women and girls – as a really shameful human rights violation and really even as a pernicious and pervasive public health problem. But it should not be up to women to end violence against women. And they can’t always be agents of change responsible for their own emancipation. There’s a lot of risk involved in that. As neighborhoods, communities, countries, societies in general we have to care about our women and girls. And it has to be on all of our agendas,” she said.

    Gender inequality, she said, is a driving force behind abuse. She says those who harm women must be held accountable, adding men and boys must be fully engaged in promoting equality and preventing violence.

    Du Mont said change requires political will based on a collective resolve across the globe.

    You May Like

    Video Democrats Clinton, Kaine Offer 'Very Different Vision' Than Trump

    In a jab at Trump, Clinton says her team wants to 'build bridges, not walls'; Obama Hails Kaine's record; Trump calls Kaine a 'job-killer'

    Turkey Wants Pakistan to Close Down institutions, Businesses Linked to Gulen

    Thousands of Pakistani students are enrolled in Gulen's commercial network of around two dozen institutions operating in Pakistan for over two decades

    AU Passport A Work in Progress

    Who will get the passport and what the benefits are still need to be worked out

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movementi
    X
    July 22, 2016 11:49 AM
    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Wall Already Runs Along Parts of US-Mexico Border

    The Republican Party’s presidential nominee, Donald Trump, gained the support of many voters by saying he would build a wall to keep undocumented immigrants and drugs from coming across the border from Mexico. Critics have called his idea impractical and offensive to Mexico, while supporters say such a bold approach is needed to control the border. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from the border town of Nogales, Arizona.
    Video

    Video New HIV Tests Emphasize Rapid Results

    As the global fight against AIDS intensifies, activists have placed increasing importance on getting people to know their HIV status. Some companies are developing new HIV testing methods designed to be quick, easy and accurate. Thuso Khumalo looks at the latest methods, presented at the International AIDS conference in Durban, South Africa.
    Video

    Video African Youth with HIV Urge More Support

    HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, is the top killer of teens in sub-Saharan Africa. But many youths say their experience with the virus is unique and needs to be addressed differently than the adult epidemic. VOA South African Correspondent Anita Powell reports.
    Video

    Video Poor Residents in Cleveland Not Feeling High Hopes of Republican Convention

    With the Republican Party's National Convention underway in Cleveland, Ohio, delegates and visitors are gathered in the host city's downtown - waiting to hear from the party's presidential candidate, Donald Trump. But a few kilometers from the convention's venue, Cleveland's poorest residents are not convinced Trump or his policies will make a difference in their lives. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke with some of these residents as well as some of the Republican delegates and filed this report.
    Video

    Video Pop-Up Art Comes to Your Living Room, Backyard and Elsewhere

    Around the world, independent artists and musicians wrestle with a common problem: where to exhibit or perform? Traditional spaces such as museums and galleries are reserved for bigger names, and renting a space is not feasible for many. Enter ArtsUp, which connects artists with venue owners. Whether it’s a living room, restaurant, office or even a boat, pop-up events are bringing music and art to unexpected places. Tina Trinh has more.
    Video

    Video With Yosemite as Backdrop, Obama Praises National Parks

    Last month, President Barack Obama and his family visited some of the most beautiful national parks in the U.S. Using the majestic backdrop of a towering waterfall in California's Yosemite National Park, Obama praised the national park system which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. He talked about the importance of America’s “national treasures” and the need to protect them from climate change and other threats. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Counter-Islamic State Coalition Plots Next Steps

    As momentum shifts against Islamic State in Iraq, discussions are taking place about the next steps for driving the terrorist group from its final strongholds. Secretary of State John Kerry is hosting a counter-IS meeting at the State Department, a day after defense ministers from more than 30 countries reviewed and agreed upon a course of action. VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb reports.
    Video

    Video Russia's Participation at Brazil Olympic Games Still In Question

    The International Olympic Committee has delayed a decision on whether to ban all Russian teams from competing in next month's Olympic Games in Brazil over allegations of an elaborate doping scheme. The World Anti-Doping Agency recently released an independent report alleging widespread doping by Russian athletes at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. So far, only Russian track and field athletes have been barred from the Summer Games in Brazil. VOA's Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Scotland’s Booming Whisky Industry Fears Brexit Hangover

    After Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, Scotland’s government wants to break away from the United Kingdom – fearing the nation’s exports are at risk. Among the biggest of these is whisky. Henry Ridgwell reports on a time of turmoil for those involved in the ancient art of distilling Scotland’s most famous product.
    Video

    Video Millennials Could Determine Who Wins Race to White House

    With only four months to go until Americans elect a new president, one group of voters is getting a lot more attention these days: those ages 18 to 35, a generation known as millennials. It’s a demographic that some analysts say could have the power to decide the 2016 election. But a lot depends on whether they actually turn out to vote. VOA’s Alexa Lamanna reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora